PITTSBURGH, July 21, 2011 - "The American Cable Association is disheartened that the FCC would approve the sale of ABC affiliate KTKA-TV in Topeka knowing full well that the new owner has every intention to coordinate negotiation of retransmission consent agreements with the owner of Topeka's NBC and FOX affiliates to form a price-gouging triopoly ready to plunder the coffers of small cable operators and consumers located within the same market.
"It is disappointing that the FCC would completely ignore the obvious harm that would result from one company controlling the retransmission consent rights of the ABC, NBC and FOX stations in Topeka, particularly for an agency whose mission is to look out for consumers and competition. One of the FCC's primary duties is to review broadcast TV station sales and ensure that they are in the public interest. Yet, as a result of the FCC's willingness to ‘kick the can' to the retransmission consent rulemaking, ACA members will now be forced to kowtow to the unconstrained market power of the Topeka Triopoly or face a massive blackout of three dominant local TV stations that can start as soon as Jan. 1, 2012. In either case, Topeka consumers will be the biggest losers.
"The FCC said that it will decide in the retransmission consent rulemaking whether coordinated negotiations among separately owned broadcast stations are harmful, but the question on the minds of Topeka consumers is whether that decision will be made in time to spare them the likely harm that they'll see at the end of the year. Topeka consumers will be watching."
"FCC media ownership and retransmission consent regulations are deeply flawed and cry out for reform. That the FCC has given a government green light to a private company bent on using the public airwaves to engage in collusive behavior is an affront to all Americans, who expect the FCC to protect consumers and competition. The FCC said the deal will serve the public interest, but the FCC did not explain how the deal is in the public interest, and the buyer of the station never even provided evidence in its filings to support a public interest claim."
About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 900 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.6 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/
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